My Heart Was Full

Now you can listen to this post!

Yoga Nidra

Search Other Posts

Yoga Nidra is better than drugs. If you don’t know, it’s a guided meditation where you lie down and get extremely relaxed, and drift into that in-between state of consciousness to actually become very aware. As you listen to me lead you through the practice, you gain a beautiful and broad perspective about life, problems, and the simple joy of being awake to the beauties of this world. I’ve been studying and practicing Yoga Nidra for over a decade and anymore when I do Yoga Nidra I am led through the very same process of keen awareness as I am facilitating for my students.

Black and White Profile.JPG

So, one evening when I lived in New York, I had just finished a particularly beautiful and heart opening Yoga Nidra practice. I was teaching at Pure Yoga in Manhattan and as I was walking down Amsterdam Avenue to go and catch the red line back home to Brooklyn. And because of this Yoga Nidra practice that I’d just taught and simultaneously experienced, my entire being felt an absolute surge of well-being and love— I was absolutely brimming with joy. At that moment, it felt as if my eyes suddenly had a super-human focus, like I could see more than 77 blocks down Amsterdam Ave, all the way to the Hudson and that they could see every detail, from the birds landing on the light posts to the dirt in the gutter and all of it felt somehow like an expression of love. I floated down the street with a smile on my face feeling like nothing could ever be so perfect. As I passed people on the street, everyone from the homeless guy to the stressed out business guy, it felt like I could feel into everyone’s heart and could feel everyone’s inherent goodness. Experiences like this are not rare in Yoga Nidra and they are one of the simple reasons that I love this practice so much.

My Heart Was Full


It reminds me of a story that one of my favorite profs in college told me. His name was Leslie Norris and he was an old, wise, and brilliant poet. He knew the Romantic poets so well he could talk about them like they were his neighbors. By the way, if you’re curious what an English major does for a living, this is it. So, in this real-life story, poet William Wordsworth is feeling a lot of pressure from his guardians. His parents have died, as he is emerging into adulthood, he will soon be in charge of taking care of himself and his sister. All he wants to do in life is to write poetry but that doesn’t pay the bills so he’s receiving a lot of pressure to join the clergy instead. Well, one morning he’s walking home in the early twilight through the hills and grasslands near the sea. The landscape is blowing his mind, totally gorgeous, and his senses are completely alive. He’s about ready to burst from joy. And in that moment of intense beauty he gets a revelation from the powers that be that poetry was what he is meant to do in life. He clearly understood that the Universe was telling him loud and clear that poetry was his path. And from that moment forward never looked back. He went on to be, well, William Wordsworth, the Michael Jordan of the Romantic poets. The poem goes like this, it’s from his magnum opus The Prelude.

Leslie Norris

Leslie Norris

Magnificent

William Wordsworth

The morning was, a memorable pomp,

More glorious than I ever had beheld.

The sea was laughing at a distance; all

The solid mountains were as bright as clouds,

Grain-tinctured, drenched in empyrean light;

And in the meadows and the lower grounds

Was all sweetness of a common dawn –

Dews, vapours, and the melody of birds,

And labourers going forth into the fields.

Ah, need I say, dear friend, that to the brim

My heart was full? I made no vows, but vows

Were then made for me: bond unknown to me

Was given, that I should be – else sinning greatly –

A dedicated spirit. On I walked

In blessedness, which even yet remains.



Expert from Prelude by William Wordsworth


All that to say, that on that day after teaching Yoga Nidra, as I was walking down Amsterdam Ave totally brimming with life’s fullness, I had a Wordsworth moment. I felt that this practice of sharing Yoga Nidra with the world is the way in which the Universe has blessed me to feel Universal love and the way in which I get to share it back to the Universe and that it was a responsibility to share it lest I be “sinning greatly.”

Yoga Nidra Training

So I have the privilege, and frankly the responsibility, to share Yoga Nidra. It’s totally my jam and I love it. I’ll be sharing it tonight at a Yoga Nidra class at 21st Yoga and for those who want to really go deep, I’m so thrilled to be spending 20 hours teaching Yoga Nidra in a teacher training/immersion—This. Weekend.

Yoga Nidra Teacher Training

About the training, if you’re a yoga teacher, awesome—Yoga Nidra is an essential tool to add to your teaching tool belt. If you’re just interested in the practice, there’s no better way to understand it than diving deep. If you’re a parent, teacher, or therapist, this could be an essential tool to help you help the people you are privileged to guide and nurture. The last time I did this training someone joined so they could learn to help their therapy clients better deal with stress. Someone else joined because they wanted to lower the teen-suicide rates in their school district. Another person joined because she was a family law attorney and wanted something to help her clients meet the challenge of divorce as mindfully as possible.

So how does it work, how does this relaxing guided meditation have such a powerful effect on people? It’s so powerful because this practice very skillfully leads you experience your True Nature, the part of you that feels wholeness and Universal love. When you are in conversation with the part of you that is fundamentally whole, everything heals.


This weekend is going to be life-changing. I’m not over selling this. There will be a lot of Yoga Nidra practice, chances to practice teaching to each other. You’ll learn how to lead yourself through this practice. You’ll receive a really solid PDF manual with Yoga Nidra scripts that you can start using on day 1 and which will serve as a foundation from which you can learn to personalize and build your own practices. Also, I’m offering this either virtually or in-person if you’re in Salt Lake City. People from all over the world will be joining us. I’ll be recording the entire thing, both audio and video, so if the timing doesn’t work you can always watch it later. This recording will also give you an incredible Yoga Nidra library.


I really hope you can make it this weekend. Regardless, I’d love to offer this Yoga Nidra practice as a chance to experience Yoga Nidra’s power to open your heart, cuz hey all the love songs are right and all you need is love.

So as I’m wrapping this up, I want to let you know that Aug. 29–Sept.1 I’m hosting a Writing + Yoga + Nature Retreat in Harriman State Park with the one and only Nan Seymour. We’ve invited special guest, poet Maya Stein to blow our socks off with her incredible poetry. We are going to explore what happens when we open to deep awareness through Yoga Nidra and then put pen to paper and see what comes out. This is the 4th year we’ve done it and it’s been amazing every year. We have only 1 spot left and we’d love for that spot to be filled by you.

 
30-day meditation challenge

There’s no better way to practice Yoga Nidra or any other form of mindfulness than with my 30-Day Meditation challenge. It’s happening the entire month of September. The challenge is to simply meditate every day for 15 minutes or more using this great app called Insight Timer. All month I’ll be sending you instructions and encouragement. The challenge costs $30 and if you complete the challenge you can choose to either receive a full refund of your tuition or roll that into other cool meditation products that I have.

No matter what you do or don’t do with mindfulness, I just want to say thank you for picking up what I’m puttin’ down. I love doing this and it’s so nice to be on this journey with you.

May the Source be with you.

Namaste.

Please Listen to this heart-centered Yoga Nidra practice


Please share this post

Kauai Yoga

Human Doing vs. Human Being

Search Other Posts

Your identity is your foundation of existence. Too often we tend to identify with things that don’t support the truth of what we are, our beingness. Too often we get caught up as human doings rather than human beings. Too often we equate our value on what we can do rather than the fact that we simply are. 

Scott Moore Yoga

 

Tantra is a school of eastern thought. One of the many facets to Tantra is its emphasis on non-dualism or all things belonging to a larger whole. When you can expand your Awareness from being either this or that, you tap into what I call your Both And Nature. This Both And Nature speaks to your higher beingness and embraces all the elements of you for optimal expression. 

 

Ironically, the person who doesn’t know their Both And Nature, identifies only as body or with their actions, equates their existence with only what they can do. Ability and doing is by nature volatile and changeable so their sense of identity lacks a real foundation. This lack of existential foundation invariably affects performance because each act becomes a desperate grope for identity when there’s none to be had merely by performing an action. 

 

During my career, I’ve taught yoga and meditation to dozens of world-class athletes and performers. Often when these performers retire, still quite young, they sometimes go into an existential crisis if their entire identity was wrapped up in solely what they could do. Now that they can no longer perform at the level they felt defined them, they have no idea who they are. 

 

By contrast, the person who is identified as a Being rather than a doer knows their Both And Nature and can act invincibly from that place because they realize that they and each of their actions are an expression of their Being, of Source. The person connected to their Being through practices like the Yoga Nidra, graduate from a level of merely doing an action to Being it. 

 

Yoga Nidra is a form of Tantric guided meditation that is both relaxing and very useful to reinforce your sense of your own Being. The aim in Yoga Nidra is to disidentify from anything in the realm of the changeable, like body or thoughts, and learn to identify as Awareness itself. Typically, a Yoga Nidra session will last anywhere from 15–40 minutes where you simply lie down, close your eyes, and listen to a facilitator (or recording) lead you through paying attention to things like your body, your breath, energy, thoughts, etc. This process leads you deeper and deeper both into relaxation as well as into Awareness. 

 

Since it’s also true that while you cannot identify solely as body, your body is an important (though changeable) part of who you are. It also exists as one of the greatest tools you possess to open yourself to the experience of Awareness. As you learn to inhabit your body with deeper Awareness, you tune into your Both And Nature and from that place of embodied Awareness, you can go out and perform at your best. 

 

Click here to hear a free Yoga Nidra recording and experience for yourself the transformative of your own Both And Nature.


Guided Meditations for Sleep

 

Be The Shit

Search Other Posts

“What does the mighty oak care if the warthog scratches its rump against its bark?

“What does the mighty oak care if the warthog scratches its rump against its bark?

Right before I moved from Salt Lake City, I had my last session with a wonderful private client, and friend. She began our session with a comment about how difficult she found it to be around people who are constantly bragging about who they are or what they own. This comment sparked a wonderful discussion and subsequent Yoga Nidra practice dedicated to the differences between a human being and a human doing. We discussed the idea of aiming to be so secure in our being that we didn’t need to try to prove anything to anyone else. We could just be.

I said to her, “When you’re The Shit, you don’t have to go around town bragging about it. You just go be The Shit.”

It reminds me of something I heard poet and writer David Whyte say, “Constantly explaining who you are is a gospel of despair.” Why does it seem that when we are the least secure in who we are, we tend to brag about ourselves the most? Probably because when we equate our value based on what we can do rather than a sure sense of our own beingness, we’re constantly trying to affirm something that really doesn’t exist. By contrast, we as human beings are valuable simply because we exist. We don’t need to prove anything because we simply are. If we're identified as something as fragile as our action or a title, then we're constantly fearing not being that thing anymore, we fear annihilation.

It’s also true that when we can be secure in our own being, other people don’t ruffle our feathers. The best antidote in response to the braggart is to be so solid in our own beingness that another person could say or do whatever they wish and it wouldn’t bend us one way or the other. Like the fantastic German quote, “What does the mighty oak care if the warthog scratches its rump against its bark?”

This is what we are doing in our yoga and meditation practices: we are affirming our beingness, and steeling ourselves against anything that could arise in our lives by simply learning to pay attention, to have Awareness. Here’s the kicker: our beingness is somehow wrapped around our ability to pay attention to the world, to listen and be. Not to do. The doing comes as the response to the being. The ancient teaching says that consciousness precedes form.

That day, my client and I had a great session. I led her through a personalized Yoga Nidra practice that helped her to feel solid in her own being to go out and be the mighty oak so that others could say or do whatever and she didn’t have to worry about it one way or the other. I recorded the practice and left it with her so she could continue to practice this concept.

After the session, as I was rushing out to go home and pack for France, I was half-way out the door, when I heard her shout after me, “Hey Scott!” I turned back to see her with a wide smile on her face. “Be The Shit,” she said as wise parting advice.

So, may I also extend this invitation to you: Be The Shit.

Mantras and Visualizations: Meditations that Sting Like A Bee

“Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee.”

Search Other Posts

muhammad ali.jpg

This was Muhammad Ali’s mantra. Perhaps yoga and mindfulness isn’t often associated with Muhammad Ali, yoga's first principle of non-harming and all that, but he was someone who was particularly adroit in his use of the yogic principle of mantra and visualization. His iconic mantra has become synonymous with a champion. What is the power of mantra and visualization and how can they be used to mold reality like they did for Muhammad Ali, and how can we use these tools to achieve our dreams?




Writing the Script on Reality

Although his mantra practically became his sonic name tag, it wasn’t just a pithy phrase he liked to throw around because it was catchy; it wasn’t his slogan or his attempt at branding himself. Maybe few understood that Ali’s mantra was his access point into his deep inner-source that believed he would be the boxing heavyweight champion of the world. Saying it over and over again was his craft, the practice of helping the logical part of his mind both believe and expect this belief to become reality.

In addition to using his mantra, Muhammad Ali visualized over and over his fight with Sonny Liston where he would win the heavyweight championship. He saw himself win the title thousands of times in his head before ever stepping into the ring. By the time he stepped into the ring, all that was left to do was the final step, the physical practice of what he already knew was true. And Muhammad Ali isn't alone. It was like he theatre of life—he knew the script and on opening night he simply needed to go on stage and perform the play.

It reminds me of a story in the Hindu scripture, The Bhagavad Gita, where the God-turned-mortal Krishna is instructing the warrior prince Arjuna about his duty to fight in an epic battle. At Arjuna’s reluctance, Krishna pulls him aside and informs him that truth and time is not so linear and that the battle has already been fought and won. Knowing this, Krishna told Arujuna that the important thing is that he must go out there and fulfill his dharma, his destiny. Similar to what Ali told himself through visualization and mantra, Krishna told Arjuna to tap into the source of belief of what was already true.

Thought Precedes Form

Many psychologists and neuroscientists will affirm that despite our trust in it, our mind isn’t necessarily the best preceptor of reality; it’s readily subject to prejudice, interpretations, and misapprehension. In yoga philosophy the name for this misapprehension is Avidya, the opposite of clear seeing. Like modern brain science suggests, two people might see the same facts and both have wildly different beliefs about translating those facts. They might even debate what is real. Thus our mind is subject to our own personal beliefs and prejudices. Our mind creates a "reality" from a dizzying array of options suggested by our perceptions, interpretations, and desires. This subjectivity tugs at the very fabric the notion of reality.

Yoga suggests that since our beliefs are so powerful in contributing to our reality, we can use things like mantras and visualization to help us create our reality, perhaps like Muhammad Ali and Arjuna, a reality that somehow in our hearts what we know is already true. We have a bigger part to play in creating our reality than we think. Mantra and visualizations can help.

Beliefs change all the time. One minute you believe in the Tooth Fairy and the next you don’t. In Vedanta, a school of yogic philosophy, the sheath or layer of our being that negotiates beliefs, both conscious and subconscious, is called the Vignana Mayakosha. Yeah, it’s a crazy name this part of our being is perhaps more powerful than we sometimes give it credit.

Dr. Bruce Lipton, an internationally recognized biologist and author who works to bridge science and spirit, says that 95% of our decision making comes from our subconscious. If we can learn to source and even manipulate our subconscious, there's no telling what power we might have over our own world. Visualizations and mantra are two very effective and powerful ways of shaping our world. Muhammad Ali powerfully demonstrated his ability mold his reality of being the heavyweight champion of the world using mantra and visualization.

The Power of Words

Words are powerful. Religious texts like The Bible even says that “In the beginning was the Word . . . and the Word was God.” In the Hindu scripture, The Yoga Sutras, the principle of Satya or truth is the second highest principle behind non-harming because of the power of words. For longer than recorded history, magic, mythic, and religious traditions have regarded certain words, whether vocalized or thought, as both sacred and powerful. I heard one of my yoga teachers, Judeth Lasater, say, “What is worrying but praying for what you don’t want.” Thus is the power of thoughts and words.

So put words to the test. I invite you to choose those words that, like Muhammad Ali, like Arjuna, will manifest your sacred destiny. And I invite you to find a way of reciting them to manifest their power in your life. Maybe you know already your mantra, what words you need to evoke for you to live into your true destiny. Perhaps words like: Power, Clarity, Forgiveness, Strength, etc. Maybe you need to discover what your mantra is.

I invite you to do a meditation in order to distill your clarity on which words are right for you. This meditation doesn’t have to come by spending months in the desert in deep contemplation. Rather, maybe 10 minutes concentrating on clearly answering a few questions for yourself. You’ll know it when it comes. Maybe it will take a few days of meditating for a few minutes each day.

Here’s the mantra-finding process: First, ask yourself what has been reoccurring in your life recently as a theme that you need to pay attention to. Another way to answer this question is to think about what ways the Universe is asking you to grow right now—what challenges are presenting themselves to you now, asking you to grow? Next, don’t allow your thinking mind to take over, here, but rather let the answer to this next question be instinct, the first thing that comes to mind: What does your heart know is your purpose for this world? Distill the answer to these questions down to a phrase or maybe even one word (don’t worry, you can change it if you need to, you don’t have to marry that word for life) but allow yourself to use that word or phrase as your powerful catalyst forward to what you already believe about yourself.

mala beads.jpg

Then, if you’re inclined, grab a mala (you can get these at any crystal and incese, dragon and rainbows shop). They are beaded necklaces with 108 beads on them. The Mala’s will usually have a tassel on them representing the beginning and the end. Hold the mala on the first bead between your right thumb and middle finger, just beyond the tassel. In your mind or aloud, repeat your word or phrase then move to the next bead. Do this over and over again until you come to the end of the mala. If it’s short and you’d like a longer meditation, turn the mala around and repeat the mantra going the other way on the mala until you come back to the tassel. After your meditation watch to see how you see the world differently and how you live into the beliefs that you bring to your mind through mantra.

In addition to discovering your mantra, create a visualization where you see yourself perform what you'd like to arrive for yourself over and over. Remember to use all of your senses and think about it happening in the moment, instead of dreaming for a future. The part of our brain and the part of our consciousness that we are accessing only understand now. Spend a few minutes in visualization to see yourself succeed and just like Muhammad Ali, become the champion of your world.

If you're interested in a free relaxing Beach Paradise visualization, enter your information below.

guided meditation

Meditations on Happiness

Search Other Posts

Meditations on Happiness

We all just want to be happy. We all search to be happier. We are all scouring for clues to solve that mystery as to why we aren’t fully satisfied in life? So we turn to things like yoga and meditation to help solve the happiness mystery. Surely yoga and meditation will help us to be happy, right? Yes they will but maybe not how we think they will. Much of the immediate “happiness” we get from yoga and meditation is fleeting and finite: a nice yoga butt, the ninja-like ability to do a handstand, 5 minutes not worrying about your finances while sitting in meditation. And as soon as we’ve finished class, we often find ourselves disappointed to be in the exact same place we were before class.

The problem occurs when we use yoga and meditation as self-improvement instruments. We say to ourselves, “If I could just improve my flexibility, forget my aching heart, and calm my busy mind, then I’d be happy.” But what if yoga and meditation aren’t for self-improvement at all? What if they are merely tools that help bring us to Awareness? And that’s it. These practices aren’t for self-improvement because the Self doesn’t need to be fixed.

Register by clicking

Register by clicking

But beyond that, in a very practical way this Awareness also helps us to find happiness by clarifying to our conscious mind both what we really want in life as well as helping us recognize it when we’ve received it. In truth, Yoga and meditation simply help us to practice Awareness which in turn reveals the true mystery of happiness: that happiness is presence.


Secret No. 1: Don’t Wait for Happiness, You’re Already Perfect


First, and this is one of life’s biggest lessons, yoga and meditation make you happy by giving you the Awareness that everything simply exists and is perfect in that existence. Including you. You’re already perfect. This Awareness also reveals that happiness just exists, the same way everything else does.

One of the secrets to happiness is to realize that we can’t wait for the events in our lives to align perfectly for us to be happy. You gotta stop waiting for the world to make you happy cuz the world just doesn’t care. You gotta start making the decision to be happy despite the events and circumstances in your life because there will always be something other than yourself to blame for the fact that you’re unhappy. You’re in charge of your emotions. Nobody else is responsible for that job, not your partner or spouse, your kids, your job, your teachers, God—nobody but you.

The stone-cold truth is that the events in our lives are neither good nor bad. They just are. It’s the meaning we assign to those events that triggers the emotions we associate as good or bad. And guess who gets to choose the meaning of each event that happens. You do.

Awareness shows you that this moment is all there is. Stop waiting for happiness. There’s never a more perfect time to be happy as the eternal now. Awareness shows you that you gotta stop looking for happiness outside of yourself. You’ll never find it. It doesn’t exist. If you can’t find happiness inside, you’ll sure as shit never find it outside. That’s just Truth with a capital “T.”

One of the oldest vedic mantras, the Gayatri Mantra, thousands of years old, says that if I truly understood the fact that everything comes from Source, I’d see that I’m no different than the happiness I seek, I’d see that happiness is my essence. (Click below to listen to me chanting this mantra.)

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s shit! life’s hard.”

Sure, life’s hard. Yet through Awareness there’s a happiness that can’t be touched by life’s difficulty. Life is beautiful even in our hardest moments because our struggles represent our growth-evolution of learning to see ourselves as the perfect beings we already are. Our life’s struggles are just like those of a new butterfly struggling to break out of its chrysalis, to unfold into its own magnificence. A butterfly won’t survive without those struggles. And like the joy of the butterfly bouncing triumphantly on the wind, one day we too will celebrate every stitch of pain that birthed our unknown wings.

The late, great Leonard Cohen said it perfectly in his lyrics to the song Anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring,

Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything,

And that’s how the light gets in.



Even the rhyme is broken yet these are perhaps some of the most succinct and poignant lyrics ever to remind us that we aren’t perfect despite our brokenness, but because of it.

In order to see our perfection through our brokenness, we must learn to be present when painful emotions arise, enough to feel them fully but without letting them define us. The practice is to realize that while we may experience emotions, what we are is fundamentally larger than emotions. And as much as you can be present with emotions, no matter which one, that presence actually serves to reveal the perfect, luminous thing inside of you which is larger than emotions, call it Awareness, Source, God, Spirit, your True Self— whatever. What you are is Awareness experiencing itself as an emotion, like an otherwise unknown being trying on a costume to understand itself. It’s by being present to your emotions through Awareness that reveals the happiness inside of you, a happiness that can’t be touched by events and circumstances

Being present with your emotions is opposite of pretending that emotions don’t exist, especially difficult emotions.They do exist. They just don’t define you. Plus, remember that every emotion is in flux, here one moment and gone the next. Just like everything else in this loving Universe, it’s part of an orbit. Emotions are part of the game of life, a part of the dream. Awareness is the part of you that’s having the dream, the part that never changes, despite any emotion that may visit. In fact, it’s things like emotions that help to reveal yourself as Awareness.

Yoga and meditation cultivate the Awareness that what we are is a spiritual being having a physical experience. We are coming to know ourselves as the Divine, a force that is fundamentally reduced to love. Divine love is in you and in everybody and everything else in the Universe. When you know that, when you feel that, come what may, nothing can touch you. You’ll even be able to experience things like heartache with love.

So while on the surface, yoga and meditation don’t make you happy, they do cultivate an Awareness which reveals some key secrets to happiness. Namely, it reveals that you are a perfect, Divine being, that you can only find happiness within, and that you’re in charge of defining the events that happen in your life. It’s the challenges in our life that help to illuminate our perfection. Awareness teaches you that what you are fundamentally is happiness (Gayatri Mantra) and that you can’t wait for life to align perfectly to “find” happiness. It also teaches us to be present to our emotions because they don’t define you but are valuable tools that help to illuminate the happiness that exists despite the events and subsequent emotions of life.



Secret No. 2: The Cosmic Taco—Place Your Order, Please.

Another way that Awareness leads us toward happiness is by giving us the clarity to know what we really want in life. Despite the fact that we are perfect just as we are, we are nonetheless hardwired to grow and to evolve. This means that it takes Awareness to realize when we’ve outgrown our current situation. Sometimes our growth is cued by a feeling of being disconnected or unsatisfied with what is. Often this is the Universe saying that we’ve outgrown our current condition and that we need to find something else, like a hermit crab whose outgrown their shell.

The dark side of being hardwired for growth means that for some of us, we are always looking for greener grasses. But with presence, we can hold the paradox that this moment is both perfect as it is and that the Universe is calling on us to grow and move away from it. With presence we also recognize that our current situation is the best and only platform for us to step into our next stage of evolution. In fact, failure to do so—both failure to acknowledge our current situation as well as our failure to grow into what’s calling us forward—ironically traps us in what fundamentally isn’t working for us, just like a prison cell. Failure to evolve from a place of grounded presence traps us in a vicious cycle of reliving our old lessons until we are ready to move on. It’ll be just like Groundhog Day but instead of Bill Murray, it’ll be us living out that drama.

Many of us mistake our itch for growth as unhappiness when it’s really just our own call for evolution knocking on our door. It’s like looking down and seeing that the pants that used to fit you just fine are now riding up around your shins. What’s worse is that most of us might feel the need to grow and look for something new but don’t even know what we are looking for. Here’s a perfect example…

Several years ago I needed to find an apartment. I had exactly one week to find a place and move out and I was really feeling the pressure. Despite the fact that I had looked at literally dozens of apartments I felt like my search was going nowhere. I realized that I was looking at apartments and not really knowing what I was looking for. After examining yet one more apartment that left me massively underwhelmed, I realized that I didn’t even know what I was looking for. So, I went home and wrote down precisely what I wanted, about 15 different criteria, everything down to which neighborhood, the price, what kind of amenities—even the architectural style and age of the building. The very next day, I looked at yet another apartment. It didn’t meet the majority of those criteria. That’s because it met ALL of them— Every. Damn. Detail. I went on to spend some very happy years in that apartment.

Many different yoga and meditation traditions say that consciousness precedes form. It was like the Universe was just waiting for me to put in my order, like the invisible person that lives in the speaker box at the drive-thru, happy to serve me as soon as I made up my mind and tell it what I want.

I believe that the Universe is constantly waiting to give us what we want and like any good teacher, if we’re not asking, it’s not giving. Asking for what we want, visualizing it in a way that is current, possible, and positive, is a way that alerts the Universe that we are ready to receive what the Universe has been waiting to offer all along.

I told this story to a good friend and she told me, “You could probably ask the Cosmos for a taco and open up your hand and, boom, a taco would drop into your hands.” Thus a new term was born, “The Cosmic Taco.” I now use this term to refer to telling the Universe exactly what you want. “Um, yeah, could I please get a beautiful place to live, in France, along with my adorable family, a great job that I love that makes me feel loved, fulfilled, and useful? Oh, and could I get that with avocado and hot sauce? Thanks!”

What do you want on your Cosmic Taco? Make a list. Be specific.

Yoga Nidra

Telling the Universe what you want on your Cosmic Taco is useful for so many reasons, but specifically it clarifies to both your thinking mind and simultaneously to Universal Consciousness what you want so it can begin to dish it out. Like I said, most of us are walking around looking for something other than what we have and we don’t even know what it is we are looking for.

For many of us it’s a matter of what we feel we are worthy of. Remember, you’re the Divine having a human experience. It’s your birthright to have EVERYTHING. Don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what you want. You more than deserve it.

As you get clear with what you want, I promise that you’ll start to notice those thing coming to you from many directions. Don’t be surprised if you start to be bombarded by clues, synergies, and opportunities. Even the songs on the radio will start to get on board to somehow sing to what’s coming through for you. Recently I had a powerful experience where I was feeling overwhelmed by the simple perfection of the lyric, “All you need is love,” and a fucking beetle came and literally landed on my hand. “Yeah, Universe, I know it’s the Beatles.”

Has something like that ever happened to you? Probably. Why is that? It think it’s because the Universe operates in an order and once you get onboard with a trajectory, you’ll see how that ordered thing begins to play out. Chances are, these clues for what you wanted were passing you all along but since you had such a dizzying array of options in front of you, each one just as viable as the next, you were simply blinded by all the myriad options to notice them.

One of the things I’ve learned from Yoga Nidra, the fascinating and transformative type of meditation I’m so passionate about, is that the past and future are abstract concepts and the eternal part of us, the one that’s connected to Universal Consciousness, only exists in the now and exists in a universe of YES—always has, always will—so you have to talk to it in ways that is current and positive. It helps to put yourself on your pathway of growth by creating mantras, aphorisms, or prayers that make a positive statement of truth that will help you grow in that direction, like a pole lashed to a tree to help it grow straight. Don’t speak to your perceived lack or the incompleteness, speak to your inevitable wholeness, to what is real and true in the moment and what is leading you to the next thing layer of wholeness. I heard Judith Lasater once say, “What is worrying but praying for what you don’t want.” Pray for what you do want.

Here’s are two examples for a positive mantras that speak to the power of the moment:

“I’m currently on my road to _____________,”

“Inside, I already have everything I need for____________.”

Both of these examples are realistic, positive, and happening in the moment. Both reflect what my therapist has been telling me for years, “Reach for the stars and keep your feet planted on the ground.” Both are mantras that communicate to the Universe what we want and positions it to help us manifest those things.

Awareness therefore brings us happiness by helping us realize that despite being perfect beings living in a perfect moment, we are nonetheless hardwired to grow. It helps us to know when we need to move on, it gives us the clarity to know what we are looking for, and it does so grounded in the positive reality of what is.

David Whyte is a rockstar in my world. Check out what he says about growing into what we feel we are worthy of in this world.

The True Love

The True Love

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours,
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides,
I remember an old man
who walked every morning
on the grey stones
to the shore of baying seals,
who would press his hat
to his chest in the blustering
salt wind and say his prayer
to the turbulent Jesus
hidden in the water,

and I think of the story
of the storm and everyone
waking and seeing
the distant
yet familiar figure
far across the water
calling to them

and how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes,
except it will
not come so grandly
so Biblically
but more subtly
and intimately in the face
of the one you know
you have to love

so that when
we finally step out of the boat
toward them, we find
everything holds
us, and everything confirms
our courage, and if you wanted
to drown you could,
but you don't
because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you simply don't want to
any more
you've simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

~David Whyte


I love this because your True Love could be your partner/spouse, kids, job, beliefs, or anything.

What is YOUR True Love?

Secret No. 3: What We Need is Here

Not only must we be clear with what we want, but we gotta learn to recognize it when it comes. I think that between knowing what you want and recognizing it when it’s come, the later is the more difficult and will lead us more quickly to enduring happiness. We cant get so driven to see over the next horizon that we fail to recognize that what we wanted all along is actually lying at our feet. It’s the story of the hero’s journey.

Yoga Nidra

Presence opens our eyes to see what is here and what is real. It teaches us that now is a perfect moment, despite whatever’s happening, and that there will never be a better moment than now. Presence shows you that what you want is here. What you want is not the thing over the next horizon, what you want is being here. Being here is being home. Check out what

I love poets because they have to be so present in order to articulate the moment that’s happening right before them. Check out this showstopper by Wendell Berry:

What We Need Is Here

Geese appear high over us,

pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,

as in love or sleep, holds

them to their way, clear

in the ancient faith: what we need

is here. And we pray, not

for new earth or heaven, but to be

quiet in heart, and in eye,

clear. What we need is here.


~Wendell Berry

Yoga Nidra


I invented a magic mantra for happiness that helps me to see that what I need is here. It helps me to realize that this moment is as perfect as any other can be. That mantra is, “This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing in this moment.” I repeat this phrase even and especially if it feels like what I’m doing in this moment is pretty mundane or average because each time I do, it opens my eyes to the perfection of the moment. The perfect moment is defined by what’s happening but rather how I’m choosing to pay attention. Repeating this mantra instantly locks me into presence and takes me out of perpetual search mode. It helps me to lift my head, open my eyes and all the rest of my senses. As I’m writing this, a nice glass of Bordeaux next to me—fruity and bold—and some dark chocolate with sea salt, I feel myself swinging in the flow of this writing, the keys popping rhythmically under my fingers, and I acknowledge that, THIS is EXACTLY what I want to be doing IN. THIS. MOMENT. This is what I want. I can’t tell you how immensely satisfying it is to acknowledge that. This phrase helps to realize that I’m not waiting for the perfect moment, I’m watching it unfold before me.

And as I clarify what I want with presence, I realize that if I’m on my road to higher growth and I’m actively doing what it takes to move me along my path, then this is the only place I can be and therefore exactly where I want to be. So, yeah here is where I need to be and is the essential ground leading me to my next step forward on my path for growth and discovery. This is the harder lesson.

The last poem I want to share, a poem that has become a beloved friend to me, one which express this vital truth of presence, written by one of my heros—the woman, the wonder, the legend, drum roll please — Mary Oliver!

Mindful


Everyday

I see or hear

something

that more or less

kills me

with delight,

that leaves me

like a needle

in the haystack

Yoga Nidra

of light.

It was what I was born for —

to look, to listen,

to lose myself

inside this soft world —

to instruct myself

over and over

in joy,

and acclamation.

Nor am I talking

about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,

the very extravagant —

but of the ordinary,

the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.

Oh, good scholar,

I say to myself,

how can you help

but grow wise

with such teachings

as these —

the untrimmable light

of the world,

the ocean’s shine,

the prayers that are made

out of grass?

~Mary Oliver


I love this poem because it points to presence as the key to happiness, to satisfaction. And that without presence, we will never realize it when what we are searching for has arrived at our feet.

It’s my prayer that you find yourself in the Awareness that you are perfect just the way you are. May you have astounding clarity about what you want in life. And may you find yourself reading this and repeating the magic mantra for happiness, “This is exactly what I want to be doing in this moment.”

Thank you for sharing this moment with me.

Going deeper:

  • Remember that you’re perfect the way you are

  • Put in your order for your cosmic taco, make a detailed list of what you want your life to be

  • Regularly practice the magic mantra for happiness, “This is exactly what I want to be doing in this moment,” no matter what you’re doing in that moment.

Please share this with someone. Comment below about what you feel are YOUR secrets to happiness.


Guided Meditations for Sleep

Yoga Nidra: Yoga for Anxiety

Search Other Posts

Online Yoga Nidra Meditation

Yoga Nidra is a relaxing form of guided meditation that helps you feel amazing. Better than amazing, Yoga Nidra helps you feel like your True Self, the qualities of which can only be described as invincible, expansive, and limitless-calm. Yoga Nidra helps us to see correctly again, in part by using things like emotions, even anxiety, as catalysts to experience our True Selves. We’re hardwired to feel this way all the time, except somehow we all allow things like thoughts, sensations, and emotions to cloud our vision of our True Self. For anyone who is interested in learning to become a certified Yoga Nidra teacher, please read to the end.

To catch the mind and keep it still,

Is no small problem for my porous will;

As many times as I shut it down,
Unceasing thoughts on me rebound

In youth I tried through alcohol,
To ease my stress and cool my gall;
In later years I turned to grass
The effects were good – but did not last.

At last with fading hopes I turned,
To Eastern paths, and my soul yearned
To scale the mystic heights of bliss.
Alas, no easy method this.

And now with age and turmoil weary,
All that’s left me is this query;
Will heart break or mind implode,
Before my vrittis do nirode.
— Swami Shankarananda

Yoga is defined in the Yoga Sutras as the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, or to come into complete stillness and unperturbed by disruptions of thoughts, sensations, and emotions. Nidra is a state of mind. It’s that interesting liminal, hypnagogic state between waking and dreaming consciousness. Yoga Nidra, therefore is the practice of coming into the Awareness of our True Self through achieving this Nidra state in deep relaxation.

What is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra is a deep form of self-discovery, like meditation, where you experience your utmost nature of being. It's a very relaxing way of attuning your awareness to all things. Indeed it is the practice of experiencing yourself as Awareness itself.

Yoga Nidra does this by training us to relax and practice deep awareness. In fact, it helps us actually experience ourselves as Awareness itself. According to Yoga Nidra philosophy, our True Nature is Awareness. We feel into our True Nature by learning to relax and simply observe whatever presents itself to us at the moment, be that a thought, a sound, or an emotion or anything else. When you learn to merely observe something rather than react to it, you gain a universal perspective about it and it doesn’t have the power to control you because you’re not identified as it. This is particularly useful for emotions.


Yoga Nidra For Anxiety

Modern psychology helps us to understand how this works, particularly vis-à-vis our emotions. In the late 1950's, Joseph Wolpe, a leading behavior therapist at Stanford University, added to Pavlov's previous ground-breaking work on conditioning by helping those with anxiety using counter-conditioning. Wolpe demonstrated that the symptoms of anxiety were greatly reduced or eradicated when things that would otherwise stress people were presented systematically, bit by bit and paired with a relaxation response.* He showed that anxiety and relaxation cannot be present simultaneously. Therefore, if you can achieve deep relaxation and practice Awareness, then slowly and gradually present to your Awareness what triggers your emotions, you you experience yourself and identify as Awareness that is momentarily experiencing emotion, not emotion itself.

Ego vs. True Self

In our quest to understand ourselves, we tend to identify with anything that seems real. To our rational consciousness, what we can feel, see, smell, etc. seems real. However, all these things are inevitably locked in the realm of the changeable, the Ego. A misapprehension of what I think I am, a definition I learned from Eckhart Tolle in his book A New Earth


Anything you identify with tends to perpetuate. After all, we are hardwired to stay alive and if in someway we misunderstand our being as an emotion, even though it may not be our favorite emotion, we keep wrapping it around ourselves metaphorically, subconsciously afraid to let it go for fear that we will no longer exist without it.

But Yoga Nidra helps you experience and identify as Awareness that is momentarily experiencing emotion, not emotion itself. Then when emotion arises, it doesn’t have the power to overtake you. You see it as just one of the other things in the Universe that has an orbit.

It’s just like everything else in this Universe, making a drive-by along its own orbit.

I invite you to experience your own True Being with Yoga Nidra. I created a free learning module that uses Yoga Nidra to help you with stress. I loved putting it together and I hope it helps if you are working with anxiety.

Online Yoga Nidra Teacher Training

If you are interested in learning how to lead yourself and others through this transformational practice, please consider registering for my Online Yoga Nidra Teacher Training program. By the end of this training you’ll be prepared to teach Yoga Nidra to help countless students discover their True Selves and see beyond momentary emotions like stress and anxiety.

If you know someone who is working with stress or anxiety or who is interested in Yoga Nidra, please forward this. Thank you!


* Wolpe, J. (1958). Psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition. Stanford. Stanford University Press.

Guided meditation for relaxation

Yoga Nidra Meditation: Does Your Inner 3-Year-Old Need to Go Nighty Night?

Who else can relate to the this . . .

Search Other Posts

My 3-year-old has two settings— turbo and asleep.

One evening last summer, he was spraying the driveway with the hose. When we told him that he had to stop spraying because it was his bedtime, he became absolutely undone with emotion. He erupted into screams of anger, morphed into an inconsolable sadness, then began desperate pleading, which then cycled back to anger, more sadness, (this time accompanied with a slumped-over super-sad walk) and more pleading . . . This went on for several minutes making a performance that could have earned him a Tony Award.

I remember standing there unphased, merely watching this drama play out. As the adult with a grander perspective, not only did I not have to get pulled into his emotion, but my heart opened up to him. I could see this situation for what it was: he’s a 3-year-old ball of raw emotion. I understood that because it was his bedtime, he was very tired and crankiness gets amplified when you’re tired. I also had the perspective that his whole world at that moment was spraying the driveway and now his world had ended because of something as arbitrary as bedtime. But thanks to my adult perspective, I could simply observe his tantrum without having an opinion about it.

Minutes later, my son was sleeping peacefully in his bed.

Photo https://o-meditation.com/2017/02/24/awareness-j-krishnamurti/

Photo https://o-meditation.com/2017/02/24/awareness-j-krishnamurti/

Krishnamurti, one of the preeminent yoga minds of the last century, said it best when he proffered that “The highest form of intelligence is observation without assessment.” He’s saying that our highest Self is one that can merely witness something and not react to it.

“Yeah, that’s great when you’re observing your kid throw a fit, but how to you learn to not have an opinion about your own serious adult emotions like stress, worry, or anxiety?” The answer is perhaps easier than you think: observation through relaxation.

I know what you’re thinking and I’m not minimizing these serious emotions. It’s like when you’re worked up into a lather over something and someone rather gratuitously says, “Hey, just relax.” And how often do you then pause, drink in that sage advice, and emerge smiling from immediate relief? Never, because it’s stupid, completely unhelpful, advice.

Like Einstein said, “No problem can ever be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it.” You’ve got to change your state to make any kind of progress forward on a problem.

If you’ve read my blog or emails for long you know how much I love the relaxing from of guided meditation called Yoga Nidra. I Love Yoga Nidra because it brilliantly changes your state of consciousness by using relaxation and observation to arrive at your highest intelligence, or True Self. Your True self is like the adult part of you with the grand perspective that can simply observe without yielding to the 3-year-old part of you with all it’s of its emotions, reactions, and drama.

In fact, relaxation isn’t just merely the byproduct of Yoga Nidra. It’s the special sauce that performs the impossible. Not only can you learn to witness emotions rather than getting sucked in by them, but with Yoga Nidra you also learn that it’s the emotions themselves which are the catalyst that bring you to experience your True Self, that place of boundless equanimity, empowerment, and perspective. Through relaxation, Yoga Nidra changes your consciousness and illuminates your adult perspective which sees everything in your life for what it is: information.

Modern psychology supports this idea of relaxation being the game-changer for state change and stress reduction. Important discoveries during the last century have shown that a person cannot feel both stress and relaxation simultaneously. Therefore, in a state of deep relaxation like in Yoga Nidra, one might skillfully and gradually begin to introduce stressors like emotions into your awareness, but because you’re deeply relaxed, you’ll find that you can merely observe the emotions or stressors and see them as information. You counter-condition against stress and soon begin to identify as the all-seeing calm adult rather than the myopic tantrumy 3-year-old.

This is huge!

What’s more, simply observing an emotion without reacting to it can often break the insidious, downward-spiral that emotions can sometimes inflict on our psyche. In just a few minutes of a skillfully-guided Yoga Nidra practice, you may begin to experience your own “highest intelligence” and begin a new relationship with your emotions.

Simply put, when you practice Yoga Nidra, you put your inner 3-year-old to bed. Maybe that’s why everyone falls asleep during Yoga Nidra. Don’t worry, it still works even when you sleep, cuz the part of you that I’m speaking to is something beyond your rational mind and is always paying attention.

Click the button below to listen to this free Yoga Nidra practice I created called Awakening Through Body and Emotions. It’s designed to help you become very relaxed in your body before leading you through some fairly benign emotions to help you see past emotions and experience your True Self. It’s about 30 minutes long and I’d love to hear back from you about your experience. I also set this to some original chill music: me playing the clarinet with a drone in the background. I hope you like it.

Also, if this topic of using relaxation and observation to rejigger your relationship to emotions resonates with you, this is what my entire 6-week Yoga Nidra series will be about starting THIS Sunday at 9 am MST. This is a virtual Yoga Nidra series (live and online) where we will be exploring the theme, The Magic of Maya: Working Through Illusion, to learn to access the inner adult inside of you for your own change of consciousness and to experience your own boundless equanimity and learn to witness things like emotions. Please join me!

Each session will be recorded and transcribed so if the time doesn’t work for you, you can always catch the session at a time that works for you. Check out the details below

Online Yoga Nidra Teacher Training

By the end of this course you’ll be ready to teach Yoga Nidra!

6-Week Virtual Yoga Nidra Series

January 20–February 24